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Saturday, October 4, 2014

A Tale of Two Ebooks

Yesterday, I mentioned on the Undiscovered Tomes Facebook page that I'd talk about the book that cemented my decision to begin reviewing indie ebooks.

I then realized that I couldn't do that.

Because there wasn't one.

There were two.

Two ebooks caused me to wake up from my big publishers are best haze, and realize that there are many magnificent indie authors out there with amazing talent for storytelling, and an eye for grammatical detail... or at least a knowledge of where to go to ensure their grammar is well done.

Prior to these two ebooks, I believed good indie writing to be rare. Sure, you can write a good book as an indie writer, but with so many bases to cover, how could your average writer - even a talented one - manage to polish off a perfectly good, well written, professional-looking work? It had to be a rarity.

Boy, was I wrong...

See, it began with a free ebook called Burning Girls, written by Veronica Schanoes. This is not an indie novel. Not even close. It's a short story published by Tor (Macmillan).

image via http://www.capriciousreader.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Schanoes-1024x703.jpg

So why in the heck do I mention it, then?!

Because this is where my journey began. Burning Girls, a dark urban fantasy based on a fairy tale, opened my eyes to ebook publishing. Specifically, it showed me that I could find amazing works that have no print format available.

I picked it up as a Free Friday book via Nook. At the time, it didn't have any reviews. A week later, I finished this ebook that had my imagination firing, and that I couldn't stop thinking about, and went to review it.

Only four reviews.

Say what?!

This well-researched historical piece set my mind on fire, had me demanding that every single person I knew must read it, and it only had four reviews??? What's wrong with this world?! This is good stuff, darn it! I should have seen loads of reviews. I mean, the ebook was FREE. I knew plenty of other people read it, so what in the world was going on?

I was actually... angry.

How could a big publishing house possibly not give such a deserving work the sort of marketing attention it needs to get noticed and reviewed? Then it hit me.

Oh, yeah... it's free. Macmillan isn't exactly going to make much money off of a free ebook, is it?

Then I thought,

"Hmmm... if big publishing houses ignore their own authors, what other works are out there that I'm missing, simply because Big Publishing isn't directing my attention toward them?"

I had a quest. I was going to find great work that didn't have the Big Publishing seal of approval.

And then, I found Lindsay Buroker, author of The Emperor's Edge, a free steampunk high fantasy that I fell in love with.

image via http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/918ZLGTPJGL._SL1500_.jpg

This is not an ebook that I can review on Undiscovered Tomes. Buroker's title has umpteen bizillion reviews on both Kindle and Nook... far beyond the allowable ten reviews within the Undiscovered Tomes guidelines.

But it was golden.

And I don't just mean the cover's color scheme. Buroker self-published The Emperor's Edge, and did all the required marketing to acquire readers and build an audience. Buroker wrote something spectacular that not only caught my interest, but held it. It was all done without the need for Big Publishing.

Proof positive. Indie authors can do amazing things.

Successful marketing isn't everything, of course. I've read plenty of ebooks that have sterling reviews, and are considered highly successful. Some of those, quite frankly, aren't worth reading, in my opinion. They're dry, boring, and not something that I would suggest to others. Ever.

Lindsay Buroker, however, fits the awesome-authors-that-people-should-read bill. I read The Emperor's Edge, which was somewhere around 750 pages on my ereader, in a single day.

It was fabulous.

The Emperor's Edge was an action-packed, emotionally engaging, page-turning piece of brilliance set in the age of steam. I loved it so much that I headed over to Buroker's website so that I could find other titles.

And I found more than that. Buroker's website is full of ebooks, advice, links to other authors, editors, and illustrators, a kitchen sink, and...

Well, ok... Maybe there's no kitchen sink. But the rest of it is all there. I ended up bookmarking Lindsay Buroker's site and heading back frequently.

And then I began Undiscovered Tomes. 

Because there are so many amazing indie authors that have published incredible ebooks that haven't reached the level of attention that Buroker's books have. They don't know how to get to that point, or perhaps they do, but they don't know how to juggle everything.

But their work is wonderful.

And they deserve recognition for it.

This is why you never find a "bad" review on Undiscovered Tomes. That's not what this blog is about. Anything that would receive a bad review... doesn't get reviewed. It gets set aside until a later date, when I'll pick it up and try again. It may never hit the blog at all... but then again, it might.

My quest is to find undiscovered indie treasures, and give them the recognition they deserve. 

This never would have happened without the two ebooks that changed my entire mindset: A spectacular short story that felt virtually ignored by its publisher, and a successful steampunk novel that proved there are plenty of indie gems out there.

Schanoes and Buroker helped me break away from the publishing stereotypes I had grown up believing, and opened a new world to me.

Their two ebooks helped make Undiscovered Tomes possible.

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